Letters to the Editor

Posted: December 28, 2013

War on the sisters via health-care law

President Obama deems the Little Sisters of the Poor “are not religious enough.”

Sister Mary Bernard had dedicated her life to the service of the elderly poor. For 44 years she served as a superior in various homes of the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose vision is “to contribute to the culture of life by nurturing communities where each person is valued, the solidarity of the human family and wisdom of age are celebrated, and the compassionate love Christ is shared with all.”

The sisters run 30 health-care facilities for the elderly poor in the United States, from nursing homes, to intermediate care, to residential or assisted living.

Sister Bernard’s devotion is unparalleled, but according to the Obama administration, she and her fellow laborers are not religious enough to deserve a “religious exemption” under ObamaCare. That’s ridiculous. The fact that such an exemption exists is telling, isn’t it?

It proves that there is indeed a religious liberty problem with the Obama administration. Why would a “religious exemption” be needed if it were otherwise? A part of the HHS mandate will force all employer health plans to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations, regardless of anyone’s moral or religious objections. In other words (President Obama) wants to force Sister Bernard and other Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for health plans that violate deeply held religious beliefs.

Not to mention the common sense absurdity of forcing this devout group of sisters to pay for something that is so far removed from the reality of their lives. Now, I know many remember hearing Mr. Obama telling religious organizations of some type of “compromise” in order to “accommodate” these concerns. Ready for it? The government still wants the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their consciences and find insurers who will cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization. If the Poor Sisters do not comply, they face hefty fines. The administration has granted accommodations for other groups, such as labor unions and big businesses, even when their objections are not based on religious beliefs. And yet, the Little Sisters of the Poor receives no mercy.

So now these humble Sisters have been forced to relinquish their religious liberty that is expressly guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This mandate is a direct assault against them.

It is unconstitutional, and it is unnecessary.

Big, intolerant government is as much of a threat to religious freedom today as the old Soviet Union was under Stalin.

Merry Christmas

Franco Ryan

Front Royal

Potts gets it wrong about tea party

Former GOP Senator Potts, in praising U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf wrote a cheap and false attack against the Tea Party, citing its “vitriol.” As usual, Mr. Potts has it wrong.

Contrary to Mr. Potts’s characterization, the Tea Party is made up of ordinary citizens who are concerned with the nation’s state and course. These are not professional politicians who make grand promises forgotten at an election’s conclusion.

These ordinary citizens educate themselves on the issues, and apply constitutional principles to solving problems. They exercise their First Amendment right to petition their government. They work one, two, sometimes three jobs in order to make ends meet in a government caused economic downturn.

Tea party folks pay their taxes, help their neighbors, make charitable contributions, attend church, and do not take government subsidies. They are our friends and family.

They are the very people Mr. Potts used to solicit for support when he ran for reelection and then ignored once safely back in office. They — not the professional politicians — are the heirs to Washington, Jefferson and Madison.

GLEN FRANKLIN KOONTZ

Berryville